Last month we finally got to meet the former star of Dragon’s Den, Chairman of Rymans and founder of Small Business Sunday, Theo Paphitis, when we were presented with the ‘Small Business Sunday’ award at the #SBSevent2016 ceremony at the Birmingham International Convention Centre.

We joined hundreds of other winners who had pitched to Theo about their business during Twitter’s ‘Small Business Sunday’ (or #SBS), and spent an inspiring day with Theo and his team.

The day-long event was an opportunity to meet fellow small business owners, as well as to listen to speakers from industry, and to meet Theo himself.

We arrived bright and early after negotiating Birmingham’s latest set of roadworks. After some networking over coffee we watched a presentation on a new #SBS online venture, www.shopsbs.co.uk, which is a shopping site exclusively selling products from #SBS winners, which goes live in April. Whilst it’s aimed at selling products (rather than the services we offer), it was an exciting development. We are told that services will be part of Phase 2, so we may yet be selling there soon.

We saw a few familiar faces. We bumped into Jacqui Williams from Tip Top Hair Design. During lunch we had the pleasure of meeting up with Karen McElroy and Tracey Chadwick of FCM Associates, who were also first time attendees. After a morning of networking it was nice to see some familiar faces amongst the large audience.

The afternoon’s Q&A, with Mike Pickles of The Really Useful Box Company and Holly Tucker, MBE (Founder of Not On the High Street), provided some insightful and engaging tips for all small businesses.

And after a long day, we joined the queue to get our winner’s photo with Theo Paphitis. Here I am, looking slightly star-struck!

#SBSevent2016 Lush Garden Design and Theo Paphitis

If you run a small business, entering the Small Business Sunday competition couldn’t be easier. All you need is a Twitter account. Just send a tweet about your business to @TheoPaphitis on Sunday between 5.30-7.00pm. He will select 6 winners, which he retweets to his (currently) 499,000 followers. The exposure, together with membership of the #SBS winners group, and other benefits, are very welcome to small businesses who, like us, don’t have huge marketing budgets.